Cobots set to improve local manufacturing

Photo: Universal Robots

The UR10 collaborative robot (cobot) from Universal Robots (UR) is the most deployed model in both Australia and New Zealand.

Boasting a large payload of 10kg and a long reach capability of 1300 mm, the UR10 is a worthy investment thanks to its versatility, long service life and its ability to adapt to various application extensions in future.

Darrell Adams, Head of SEAO (South East Asia Oceania) at Universal Robots says that the UR10 makes collaborative automation accessible to businesses around the country and addresses a wide range of applications in machine tending, palletising and packaging.

“Its 1300mm reach spans wide workspaces without compromising on precision or payload performance”.

There has been some resistance to cobots in the past. Some the concerns included that robots could potentially put humans out of jobs and that cobots are expensive and difficult to implement. These fears have been eased through the many successful stories of implementation across a wide range of manufacturing sectors. Cobots have shown their worth through their efficient ROI, ease of use and the fact that in most cases cobots are working alongside employees on a production line.

Companies are now embracing the idea of cobots to tackle repetitive tasks, ensure a more productive workforce and yield higher profits thanks to their extreme accuracy and sheer work speed. “Cobots are commonly used in pick and place applications and machine tending. They are flexible, easy to integrate into existing production environments and are built to do more,” explains Adams. “In addition, cobots can operate in hostile work environments that are not suitable for humans”.

What’s all the Hype About?

It’s been over 10 years since cobots first appeared on the manufacturing scene. First viewed as a ‘lab experiment’, cobots now are hard at work in various industries around the world.

Cobot technology has advanced at a rapid rate and as the global industry leader, Universal Robots has deployed more than 42 000 cobots around the world and just invested USD 36 million in the construction of the world’s largest cobot hub in Denmark.

These exciting, life-like inventions have modern manufacturing organisations enthused with how cobots can be deployed to deliver, better safety and ergonomics, enhanced productivity and reduced labour costs.

“Cobots are particularly suited to small to mid-size manufacturers who don’t have an army of automation engineers and are vulnerable to labour shortages, economic volatility and competitive pressures” says Adams.

In terms of costs, Adams notes that owning a cobot is an affordable investment and that leasing options are now available courtesy of Universal Robots and DLL.  “Compare this to the cost of employment over a long period of time and the benefits will start to add up quickly.” 

Cobot Benefits Explained

  • Easy programming: “Cobots are accessible to everyone. The patented technology allows operators with no programming experience to easily set up and operate cobots using intuitive, 3D visualisation,” Adams explains. In addition, Universal Robot offers 24/7 free e-learning through the UR Academy using Certified Trainers
  • Fast set-up: The average set-up time for a cobot by Universal Robot is half a day. “Universal Robots has revolutionised cobot set-up, reducing typical robotic deployment measured in weeks to a matter of hours.”
  • Flexible deployment: “Universal Robots are lightweight, space-saving, and easy to re-deploy to multiple applications without changing your production layout.” Moving the cobot to a new process is fast and easy, giving you the agility to automate almost any manual task, including those with small batches or fast changeovers. The cobot can re-use programs for recurrent tasks.
  • Collaborative and safe: 80% of Universal Robots operate without safety guarding or after risk assessment, right beside human operators. “A big attraction for companies is that cobots can operate in dirty, dangerous, and dull jobs to reduce the repetitive strain and accidental injuries caused to human operators” says Adams.

Note: For companies with complex applications, Universal Robot offers a comprehensive network of Certified System Integrators and Authorised Training Centres to help you get started.